🫣 Three essential rules for providing constructive presentation feedback...

... that doesn't crush their confidence!

Picture this…

A team member has just delivered a car crash presentation to the board and they've asked you to give them feedback.

How do you do it without shattering their confidence?

I've given my fair share of presentation feedback over the years. I'm on the receiving end of my fair share too - after every workshop I deliver.

I have three rules for giving constructive presentation feedback:

Rule 1: Seek first to understand, then be understood 👂

Far more important than the feedback you have for them is the feedback they are already giving themselves. That’s why getting a clear sense of how they feel about the presentation they delivered is absolutely vital.

If they've got any level of self-awareness, they already know it went down badly so they don't need you to tell them that!

I thought I’d check in after this morning's presentation.
How was it for you?

A really simple and effective way to open the conversation…

Rule 2: Make it about your own experience, not about their habits ☝️

Most people fall into the trap of giving presentation feedback, like this:

❌ ‘It very hard to follow, you need to be clearer.’
❌ 'Slow down - you speak far too quickly.’
❌ ‘You looked nervous and unprofessional up there.’

While it might be well-intentioned, it’s unhelpful because it lacks specificity, can come across as a personal attack and doesn’t provide any actionable guidance on how to improve.

Instead, frame your feedback in a way that empowers the presenter to make their own decisions on what they need to work on the most [I talk more about this in my book, Make It Count].

To do this, centre your feedback around your own experience rather than the presenter’s habits.

📌 'My main takeaway was... what as that what you were hoping to achieve?'
🤔 'The presentation left me feeling... what do you think that could have been down to?'
🫨 'There were certain areas where you lost me... (points x, y and z), how might you change your approach on these next time round?'

Rule 3: Show you believe in them 💪

Knowing that you've still got their back is EVERYTHING. I came across a magical sentence from Adam Grant a few weeks back... 🪄 

'I’m giving you this feedback because I have very high expectations and I’m confident you’re going to reach them.'

He prefers to start his feedback with a sentence like this. My personal preference is to close with it.

The main reason is that upon hearing the word 'feedback' all of us tend to close the drawbridge, enter our defense mode or turn into a human cactus 🌵.

The more open the conversation is, the more effective it will be.

What's more, this way you're guaranteed to leave them on a high and with your working relationship intact.

Found this useful? Share this link with others!

 Whenever you're ready, here are some ways I can help:

1. I talk more about this in my book, Make It Count 📘 along with all sorts of other useful things, like how to look natural whilst everyone is staring at you.

2. For leaders looking to become sought-after speakers, join MicDrop 🎤.

3. Looking for a public speaking workshop for your team? Book a call to find out more⚡️.

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